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Morocco, Somalia discuss prospects for regional stability

Rabat – Chief diplomats from Morocco and Somalia have reviewed long-standing diplomatic relations between the two countries, calling for further cooperation in areas such as regional stability.

Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita on Thursday held talks with his Somali counterpart, Mahmoud Abdi Hassan, on the sidelines of the inauguration ceremony of the International Research Center for the Prevention of Child Soldiers in Dakhla.

The center seeks to protect children from exploitation in armed conflicts, a very present issue in Somalia.

Bourita and Abi Hassan’s meeting also took place the same day that the UN General Assembly unanimously voted in favor of the new African Union mission in Somalia.

The new mission is expected to prioritize taking concrete actions against armed groups affiliated with al-Qaeda and ISIS, as well as supporting the Somali government in its efforts to restore stability across the country.

The new AU Transitional Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) replaced the 15-year-old AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) which failed to restore peace and stability in the country.

Political ‘brotherhood’

Morocco and Somalia have long-standing “brotherly” relations, reaffirmed the two chief diplomats during their Thursday meeting. Ministers also called for the countries to look at new areas of cooperation.

Over the past few years, Somalia has shown continuous support for Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara. This stance was clearly underlined by Somali authorities when Morocco launched an operation to reopen the Guerguerat crossing point in November 2020.

The Moroccan operation came in response to a three-week blockade imposed by the separatist Polisario Front. The blockade disrupted the flow of civil and commercial traffic in the region impacting Western Saharan and Mauritanian people.

Multiple countries, allies of Morocco, expressed support for the country’s operation including Somalia.

“The government of the Federal Republic of Somalia stands alongside the brotherly Kingdom of Morocco in all the measures it undertakes to protect its security and sovereignty over its territories at the Guerguerat crossing point between Morocco and Mauritania,” tweeted the Somali Ministry of Foreign Affairs on November 17, 2020.

Over the years, Moroccan-Somali cooperation has extended to numerous sectors.

The two countries signed in 2019 three memoranda of understanding with regard to the creation of the Morocco-Somalia High Joint Committee, co-chaired by the countries’ foreign ministers, the building of a political consultation facility, and cooperation in the training of diplomats.

The three agreements opted for the consolidation of diplomatic, economic, and cultural relations between Rabat and Mogadishu through the continuous exchange of knowledge and expertise as well as mutual support of shared interests within regional and international organizations.

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